How leadership coaching can help solve problems, build relationships, and spark creativity
Contributed by Kristin Viera Zecca, Director, Executive Programs, MIT Sloan School of Management
These days, more and more professionals in different stages of their careers are working with coaches in and outside of their organizations. Why is it happening now and why is it important?
Several interconnected forces contribute to this trend: organizations are becoming flatter; traditional command-and-control management styles don’t work with today’s workforce; tech innovations are changing how business is done. As a result, executives need to develop new skills and capabilities to continue leading teams and organizations in this shifting landscape.
Adjusting to this “new normal” can be challenging for professionals who are used to more traditional ways of doing business. Senior executives tend to find themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place, feeling pressure from all sides: employees, their own managers, customers, boards, shareholders, investors, etc.
This is where coaching comes in. Members of a coaching culture:
- Stay curious
- Suspend judgment
- Ask powerful questions
- Listen actively
- Have one conversation at a time
- Respect and support one another
- Encourage new ideas and build on them
- Are action-oriented
- Check in periodically on the goal and progress
In practical terms, when you engage with a leadership coach, you get the benefit of structured, scheduled—and often employer-sponsored—undivided attention from a trained professional. That person is dedicated to your success just as much as you are, but is also able to be more objective. Unlike a mentor who shares their experience as it applies to your situation, a coach is focused squarely on you. When you work with a coach, the benefits can ripple through your team and your entire organization.
As a certified Executive Coach, I may be biased. Yet, who wouldn’t take advantage of a professional development opportunity that not only makes you a better manager, but can also improve your quality of life?